I’m a 35-year-old German woman suffering from mildly purplish blue, ill-defined marks on my skin, mainly on my inner thighs and calves. This becomes more prominent in colder environments. I’ve been told it’s nothing significant. Can you kindly help?
Your description of skin rashes suggests you are most likely suffering from livedo reticularis — various skin conditions in which there is a mottled discolouration of skin. It is believed to result from disturbance of blood flow to the skin, causing low blood flow and reduced oxygen supply to the skin.
There is the benign form of the condition that affects genetically predisposed individuals, mostly women of fair complexion with so-called delicate skin. In many cases, we do find a positive family history of some other female family member also suffering from the same condition.
The second kind, secondary livedo reticularis, is associated with an underlying systemic disease. There is a long list of such systemic diseases/disorders, which can be suspected as being associated with secondary livedo reticularis. Mentioning all of them here will be a difficult task.
Also, I would not want to create any unnecessary fear or apprehension in you without going through a thorough medical exam and detailed laboratory investigations, which are absolutely necessary either to support or to negate the diagnostic suspicion. Therefore, my recommendation will be that you consult a highly experienced skilled dermatologist.
Your observation of worsening or more visibility of your skin complaints in winter months seems quite valid, as in our professional practice too, most of the sufferers seen with livedo reticularis do exhibit similar phenomena in winter months with cold weather.
The low temperatures in winter do contribute towards slowing of blood flow to the skin due to cold-induced vasoconstriction of the cutaneous blood vessels.
Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir is a Dubai-based dermatologist. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.